How exciting, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will be hosting a Brazilian art exhibit, starting next week! It is called “When Lives Become Form: Contemporary Brazilian Art, 1960’s to Present”. It starts on November 5th and it goes until January 31st. The exhibit will focus on the art from the Tropicália movement and contemporary artists.
Tropicália (or Tropicalismo) is a Brazilian cultural movement that started in 1963 and it included visual arts, poetry, theater and music. The singers Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil led the movement along with plastic artists Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. The main idea was the concept of Anthropophagi: “cannibalizing all societies, all cultures, and creating something unique from the mixture” (Oswaldo de Andrade). The “tropicalistas” were very unique indeed; the movement was experimental, psychedelic and revolutionary.
In 1964, a coupe d’état pushed Brazil into a military dictatorship, which lasted until 1985. The country was under an oppressive government and the Tropicália movement represented an opposition to the repressive regime. The tropicalistas avant-garde ideas, radical lifestyle and acceptance of the western culture conflicted with the conservative dictatorship.
In 1969, many participants of the Tropicália movement like Gil and Veloso were arrested, released and then exiled to London. During the 21 years of the military regime, artists and the press were censored by the government. Tropicalismo was not only a way that Brazilians expressed discontentment with the dictatorship, but a way of reinventing the culture of the tropics while telling our story.
The Tropicália movement still is undoubtedly the most original in the history of Brazil. It embraced different types of arts, it was inspired by western culture, and shocked the conservative government. It became a symbol of the Brazilian culture and has inspired many artists like David Byrne, Kurt Cobain and Beck.
I am very thrilled and proud to see a part of the Brazilian tradition and history right here in San Francisco.
Photo taken from the event website.
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